Going Topless With Jen Hatmaker

The other night, I posted this picture on Instagram:

pants off

with this caption:

Let’s take a minute and talk about this picture, shall we? Okay.

First: Those pants in the middle of the floor? Mine. Because after 9pm pants are optional in this house. And it doesn’t matter where I am, they come off so I’m comfy. Even if that’s in the middle of the living room. And yes, I left them sitting there on the floor so I could run downstairs and watch TV (because we don’t have a DVR. Don’t ask.). No worries, I’m sure my awesome husband will pick them up. (No, for reals, he really will. And he’ll fold them or hang them up).

Second: Those school uniforms laid out nicely on the couch? My kids. My daughter set her’s and HER BROTHER’S out so they’ll be ready quickly in the morning. She did this. I didn’t ask her to.

Conclusion: My kids win. I come in a close second… who am I kidding? I come in last place. But I do win on the husband thing. He’s a keeper, pants and all.

Someone commented about how she loves my honesty. My reply was something about how shameless I really am.

And it got me thinking. I realized that sometimes, I really am. Shameless.

But here’s the thing…I’m not frivolously shameless. I’m shameless with purpose. There is a difference, you know. There is.

I like to think of it as my spiritual gift. Shamelessness. I’m sure you can find it somewhere in the scriptures, “Thou shall not be embarrassed that thou haven’t her crap together and thou shall be vulnerable and bear it all for the world to see.” Yes, I’m sure it’s in the Bible just. like. that.

And along with my shamelessness spiritual gift, there is something else. And I think it goes hand in hand. I’ve written about it before and you can read it here, but I hate clicking on those links so I’ll just sum it up for you. It’s about going topless. No, not like that.

Remember when you used to (or maybe still do) go skinny dipping with your girlfriends? You’re all standing there in the cold and everybody’s waiting for somebody to be the first to take their top off and jump in? It’s like that.

Exposing our flaws and struggles can sometimes feel like that. Nobody wants to go first.

Every fall for the last 3 years, I have gone to a women’s retreat outside of Asheville, SC at a Young Life camp called Windy Gap. You GUYS. This is my most favorite weekend of the year. You need to go next year. We can be bunk buddies…

triple bunk

You can sleep on top ;)

Anyway, this year, I wasn’t really looking forward to going. I wanted to see my friend I meet there every year, but I wasn’t stoked on the speaker. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Jen Hatmaker?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a great speaker/writer and she’s funny and all that. Heck, one of her books was part of the inspiration behind my aWEARness Project. But man, last year she seemed to be everywhere. Even on TV!

And now she was coming to my sacred weekend and because of her, it sold out in a few hours and now there’ll be crazy-lady-fans who have never been before just coming to see this Jen Hatmaker girl. Basically, y’ know, I felt like she was ruining my weekend. Cause this world apparently revolves around me. (Oh, Amber…maybe there’s still hope for you.) And so the whole everybodys-into-it-so-I-will-do-the-opposite thing? Yeah, that. That was my attitude going into the weekend. Mature, I know.


I was pleasantly surprised (as this sort of thing usually goes). She was incredibly candid about her last year. Very vulnerable and honest. She talked about the busyness and how we need to feel known and loved and how we’re not alone. And all the pretending we do and masks we wear and how tired we are because of it. How she was tired because of it. She was speaking my language. Preaching to the choir and my heart was singing along…YES, finally!

(And then I took back all the un-nice thoughts I had about her ruining my weekend and apologized to her in my head and she forgave me and then we hugged it out…in my head.)

On the second day, at the end of her talk, she announced, “Okay, now we’re going to spend some time sharing out loud what’s going on in our lives. What we’re struggling with. How we are feeling. Because if one of us is feeling a certain way, then most likely 10 of us are feeling that way too. We’re not alone in this.”

And then she stopped talking.

And it was quiet.

400 women…totally still.

After a few awkward silent seconds, she’s all…”I can stand here all day ladies. I don’t mind the silence. I’ve done this before and I can wait it out.”

And I believed her. I knew she could. I knew she would.

I was sitting on the floor in the very front row watching her slowly walk the stage.

And I’m thinking for the love…would someone just start already? Someone just go first?

And then… my heart started beating fast and I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Oh crap, it’s me. I’m going to do it…I’m going to say something… And before my head told my mouth to shut up, I blurted:

“I’m really lonely,” and then through my ugly cry, “and my marriage isn’t good right now.”


Why would I do that? Who says that? Out loud! In front of hundreds of people!

After the session was dismissed and I was unsuccessfully hiding my puffy face under my hoodie, a woman came up with tear-filled eyes and shared with me how her marriage isn’t doing well either, and that it hasn’t been for a long time.

We hugged. And I knew it was worth it.

It’s worth it every time you guys. Every single time.

Because that is the power of going shamelessly topless. Even if it’s in front of Jen Hatmaker.

And know that topless or not…you are NOT ALONE in this. We’re in it together.


Amber  (with pants off, but top on right now)







Posted in Confessions, Encouragement, My Life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Whole Lot of Nothing

I should be in bed, but you know, daylight savings and all that helps me not feel so bad about being up at this hour. Wait, does that make sense?

Ok, so let’s just take a second and laugh about my last post…um, 3 weeks ago? When I said, I ain’t no quitter. Obviously, I totally jinxed myself. So it wasn’t my fault ;)

But I did try. I sat down at my computer a couple of times with the intention of “catching up” and posting multiple morning mop pictures, but sadly, I got sucked into the deep dark depths of the internets.

internet holeAlso, it actually takes time to write. Like uninterrupted time. No kids, no distractions (which is really hard for my ADD self), plus………. oh my word, like right now!  I just got up and walked around the living room and dug through my son’s Halloween candy and am now munching on a Mr. Goodbar.

Speaking of Halloween… never again. This was one of the most stressful Halloweens ever. I was unprepared and therefore my kids were unprepared, which made for a grumpy mom on Friday morning. I won’t go into detail about how I spent the morning driving from store to store to gather supplies for my daughter’s costume to then have her change her mind two more times before we left the house that night. I won’t. Because it will make me mad all over again.

Thankfully everyone was dressed up and ready to go and I FORGOT TO TAKE THEIR PICTURE! So 2014 will have nothing documented for the Halloween festivities. Mom fail to the max. I tried to get them to dress up today but sweet husband of mine already threw out part of my son’s (lame) ninja turtle costume. Because that’s what he does. He throws things away.

School papers on the floor? Throw away. Tons of little post-its (with important information written on them)? Throw away.  Preschool crafts? Throw away. But he also does laundry. So I’ll take the throwing-away-of-the-things for laundry. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Plus, he has to counteract my hoarding tendencies. I don’t blame him. Well, sometimes I do. Because those are all important things I must look at before they go in the trash. Oh wait, that’s the hoarder in me again. Never mind.

Well clearly this post is about a whole lot of nothing. Look, I just wasted 2 minutes of your precious time. Ha! Sucked you into the evil internets with me…bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha. At least we’re here together. And that’s all that matters. Togetherness. You and me. Forever, together. Okay, I’m done now.

Love you all and hope you use your time more wisely than I to do this week.

peace out,


Posted in My Life, Stuff & Nonsense | 2 Comments

I ain’t no quitter… at least not this week

I kind of can’t believe it. Do you realize that I have posted 7 times this week?

I’ll be honest… I’m a little impressed with myself. Okay, a lot impressed with myself.

I once had to fill out a get-to-know you form for something (clearly, it was really important), and it had that what-3-words-would-you-use-to-describe-yourself junk. So, I asked my oldest daughter to answer for me.

She said, “You’re funny, creative, and I don’t know the word for it, but you come up with really great ideas but never actually do them.” Awesome. I told her we call that a, um, a dreamer… yeah, a dreamer, right?

So you can see why this is quite a big deal. I have actually followed through with posting every day. The only other things I haven’t quit on is my marriage and my kids…well, at least most days. Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself because there are still 24 days left. Oh boy.

But I’ll tell you what. I forgot how it feels to write. How therapeutic it is. How this little blog can create connection, something I’ve been missing for a long time. Yes, it scares me every time I hit publish on a post, but it’s so worth it. I hope I don’t forget that. Thanks for hanging out with me here.

And here’s to 24 more days of this!



Peace out my friends…


Posted in 31 Days, My Life, My Morning Mop | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Death to the inbox

For the record, I DO NOT like email. At all.

I open up my inbox with 673 emails and either want to

a) run and hid like this:

hiding out


b) turn into crazy lady version of the incredible hulk like this:



I get it. It saves paper. It’s a quick way to communicate. But man, I’m drowning in it. I’m not a super organized person in the first place and have no electronic mail filing system set up. Archive, star, delete. Forget it.

I even set up a different account for all things school related. But those ones come flying at me at lightening speed. The worst is when they attach a form needing to be turned in that I am supposed to print. 

And don’t even get me started about checking email on my phone. Worst idea ever. I look at it, reply back in my head, and forget about it forevermore.

So if you’ve ever emailed me and I didn’t reply back, I want you to know…

1) I most likely read it,

2) had every intention of replying (and probably composed a lovely response in my head),

3) but it died by suffocation from all the other emails that came after it.

Am I the only one with email anxiety? <– yes, that’s a thing, or at least it is now.

Love you all…as long as you don’t email me ;)


P.S. But in all seriousness, I do want to sincerely apologize to those of you who have emailed me questions about med school/residency, relationships, parenting, depression. I know it’s not always easy emailing a stranger and I want to say thank you for sharing and trusting me. I will work hard on answering those soon. I promise. I’ll just have to find my anti-email-anxiety medication first :)
Posted in 31 Days, My Life, My Morning Mop | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

showing up.



And here’s the caption I wrote on Instagram for this picture:

It’s no secret mornings are hard for me. And not just sometimes hard. Like, all. the. time. hard. I can’t escape them. I tried. They just show up, uninvited, every day. Because apparently, that’s what mornings are supposed to do.

Because when you’ve got kids, or a job, or you live in this world that functions during the day, you have to face this absurd morning thing. So here I am. Showing up. Because that’s all I can do somedays. I hope you show up too.

You guys.

After I posted yesterday, I kinda wanted to hide in a hole.

Blogging is scary for me. It makes me feel very vulnerable and afraid. I know I’ve said it before, but I don’t like it when people tell  me they read my blog. Today one of my daughter’s friend told me her mom read my blog. Yikes! I really wanted to hide in a hole then.

But it’s okay. I have to get used to it. If this is something I want to keep doing. And I do. Because I’m remembering why I started blogging in the first place. And I promised to post every day this month. So here I am, just showing up. (I hope you show up too.)

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Posted in 31 Days, Confessions, My Life, My Morning Mop | Tagged , | Leave a comment